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Event-related brain responses while listening to entire pieces of music

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  • H Poikonen
  • ,
  • V Alluri
  • ,
  • E Brattico
  • O Lartillot, Denmark
  • M Tervaniemi
  • ,
  • M Huotilainen

Brain responses to discrete short sounds have been studied intensively using the event-related potential (ERP) method, in which the electroencephalogram (EEG) signal is divided into epochs time-locked to stimuli of interest. Here we introduce and apply a novel technique which enables one to isolate ERPs in human elicited by continuous music. The ERPs were recorded during listening to a Tango Nuevo piece, a deep techno track and an acoustic lullaby. Acoustic features related to timbre, harmony, and dynamics of the audio signal were computationally extracted from the musical pieces. Negative deflation occurring around 100 milliseconds after the stimulus onset (N100) and positive deflation occurring around 200 milliseconds after the stimulus onset (P200) ERP responses to peak changes in the acoustic features were distinguishable and were often largest for Tango Nuevo. In addition to large changes in these musical features, long phases of low values that precede a rapid increase - and that we will call Preceding Low-Feature Phases - followed by a rapid increase enhanced the amplitudes of N100 and P200 responses. These ERP responses resembled those to simpler sounds, making it possible to utilize the tradition of ERP research with naturalistic paradigms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-73
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2016

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